Multiplication Center

The Collaboration of Writing and Art

February 26, 2008

Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals
by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. Design by SharpSeven.

This is going to be a different kind of book recommendation than others that I have written about in the past.  Because this is a very different kind of book.  Few books pull one’s senses into the process of reading as this one does.  I will go out on a limb here and say that this book will represent a tipping point in Christian publication.  Other books have tried to be cutesy, artsy and creative with their book presentation (i.e. different fonts, blog entries, photos, etc.–think Leonard Sweet), but this book really, really does it right.  That’s why in this post I put a link to the married design team of Ryan and Holly Sharp of Sharp Seven.

The book is really the marriage of writing and art and I carefully hold onto each page, making sure I don’t miss what is being communicated, not only via words, but photos, drawings, layout, etc.  This concept really is relevant and primary to the message and central thesis of what Shane, Chris and the Sharp’s are trying to convey:

So what we need is an exploration of the Bible’s political imagination, a renovated Christian politics, a new set of hopes, goals, and practices.  We believe the growing number of Christians who are transcending the rhetoric of lifeless presidential debates is a sign of this renovation.  Amid all the buzz, we are ready to turn off our TV’s, pick up our Bibles, and reimagine the world.

It can be hard to reimagine the world, espeically the political imagination with just another book that looks like all the others.  But this book is different and has managed to revive some imagination in me…just not about politics, but about Jesus, love, life and ministry.  And I think if you pick up this book you will not be disappointed.  I hope that we begin to see more and more collaboration between writers and artists.  I consider writing to be an art, so it only makes sense to work with those artists in other mediums to help a writer communicate a more robust message through the book.

I will blog more about this book in my next post, as I only picked it up yesterday and have just begun to read it.  But this is the impact that it has already had on me in 24 hours.  There are so many good things in this book, but let me leave you with the opening words of the book:

This books ia a project in renewing the imagination of the church in the United States and of those who would seek to know Jesus.  We are seeing more and more that the church has fallen in love with the state and that this love affair is killing the church’s imagination.  The powerful benefits and temptations of running the world’s largest superpower have bent the church’s identity.  Have power at its fingertips, the church often finds ‘guding the course of history’ a more alluring goal than following the crucified Christ.  Too often the patritotic values of pride and strength triumph over the spiritual virtues of humility, gentleness, and sacrifical love.

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